Nov 15, 2016

Paddington: Polite Requests for Help

I simply love this movie. It is funny,  sweet and touching. It is great for children and adults. I recommend it. 

I. Watch the movie segment and talk to your partner about the questions below.

1. Was Paddington, the bear, polite with the people around him?

2. What went wrong?

3. What should he do to draw attention to himself politely?

II. Read the expressions below and decide in which situations they would be most appropriate?

1. Can you give me a hand with this?

2. Could you help me for a second?

3. Can I ask a favor?

4. I wonder if you could help me with this?

5. I could do with some help, please.

6. I can't manage. Can you help?

7. Give me a hand with this, will you?

8. Lend me a hand with this, will you?

9. Could you spare a moment?

10. I need some help, please.

III. Now check the explanations for the best use for those requests and compare them to  your answers. 

Phrase 1 is quite a direct question to use with friends and people who you know quite well.

Phrase 2 is more polite. We include the words 'for a second' to show that we don't need a lot of help 
and that it will not be difficult.

Phrase 3 is a general way of introducing a request for help.

Phrase 4 is polite and can be used with people you don't know very well, or with your boss.

Phrase 5 is quite direct, and the focus is that you really need help. It's quite strong.

Phrase 6 shows you have a big problem. You are desperate for help. you often hear this phrase when somebody has too much work to do.

Phrases 7 and 8 are similar and are direct requests for help. 'Lend a hand' is a little more polite and old-fashioned than 'give me a hand.'

We use phrase 9 to show that we respect that the other person is really quite busy and to say that they will only need to help you for a short time.

Phrase 10 is a direct question and the asker does not expect the listener to say no. This is often used by people in authority e.g. bosses.

Inspired by the awesome site International House Bristol. It has wonderful ideas for functional language use.


 Improvise a dialog based on the following situations. Use the expression you have learned in this lesson.

  A: You are the boss of an important department. You need a report ready in two hours, but you don't have enough time to prepare it by yourself.

 B: You are A's assistant. You are very busy, but your main job is to help your boss.

  A: You are lost in a busy foreign city. You need directions to get back to your hotel.   

 B; You are in a hurry heading for work. You can't be  late because it is your first working day at this company , but you don't want to be rude. Decide if you will spare a few minutes of your time to help A or decline A's request  politely.

  A: You are at  a party that you know nobody. You are embarrassed and want to go home as soon as possible. How can you tell the host you want to leave before dinner is served?

 B: You are very busy hosting a party. You want everybody to feel comfortable, but you don't have time to interact with most guests. How will you help A in this situation? You really don't want A to leave the party before dinner.



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